#13, out this week, features the return of The Joker, who appears in the world of the New 52 for the first time and who has torn his own face off and then hastily reattached it. And, with John Cassaday's hyper-realistic art style and a truly grotesque plot point, today's Uncanny Avengers #1 might still be the most horrific image that superhero comics fans will see in a mainstream book this year. (Spoilers ahead for Uncanny Avengers #1)
And yet it makes total sense: The Red Skull, who is the villain in the first arc of Uncanny Avengers, historically has an obsession with the Cosmic Cube, an item that could allow the former Nazi to reimagine the world in his own image. His new MacGuffin serves much the same purpose--even if it is incredibly bizarre and gruesome. The brain of Charles Xavier, which he can be seen holding up over his head in the image at left (it's been shrunk way down so as not to spoil for those who haven't yet read the issue), is a potentially powerful artifact; as the brain that built Cerebro, the white supremacist/human supremacist aspect of The Skull's personality could be served effectively if he could find a way to harness that power to detect (and exterminate) mutants, which are finally on the rise again following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men. Still, it's a hard image, and there have already been some fans who have said this is enough for them to give the title a break. What do you think? Is the last-page twist too much, or is it just enough to keep you reading? And is it as good, or as bad, as the similar twist at the end of Batman?